Morning Headlines: Summit Rises to Red Level 3 on COVID-19 Map; UA Reports 15 Cases on Campus

Sep 11, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, September 11:

  • Summit County rises to red level 3 on COVID-19 map
  • Ohio governor's pick for health director withdraws name
  • UA reports 15 cases of COVID-19 on campus
  • Anti-Trump Republicans in divided Ohio seek votes for Biden
  • New Ohio jobless claims fall
  • COVID-19 testing this weekend in Akron, regional CVS pharmacies
  • AG William Barr to attend funeral for Cleveland police detective
  • Summit elections officials step down before Election Day
  • Statehouse 9/11 flag display cancelled 
  • Ohio Supreme Court rules against Kanye West's appeal
  • Ohio State's Day wants answers from Big Ten

Summit County rises to red level 3 on COVID-19 map
Summit County has been upgraded to red alert on the state’s COVID-19 map. It’s one of six Ohio counties with a level three rating. Gov. Mike DeWine says Summit County joined the list after a sudden increase in hospitalizations, along with a single incident at an unnamed fraternal club where 12 people tested positive. Four of them remain hospitalized. Wayne County, meanwhile, dropped from red alert to orange, joining seven other Northeast Ohio counties at that level, including Portage, Medina and Cuyahoga.

Ohio governor's pick for health director withdraws name
Gov. Mike DeWine's pick for Ohio's next Health Department director has withdrawn her name just hours after being named to the position. DeWine's office said in a tweet Thursday night that Dr. Joan Duwve withdrew her name from consideration for the position for personal reasons. The state will continue its search for a full-time replacement to Dr. Amy Acton, who resigned abruptly in June amidst a torrent of conservative criticism including armed protesters outside her suburban Columbus house. Duwve is an Ohio native who most recently served as a public health director in South Carolina.

UA reports 15 cases of COVID-19 on campus
The University of Akron has reported 15 new COVID-19 cases in the past week. The university’s updated dashboard says 12 cases were confirmed last week, and three from the week prior. A total of eight isolation rooms are currently in use on campus. Akron does not require students to be tested and is only making testing available to students who are symptomatic. Kent State will update its dashboard on Monday.

Anti-Trump Republicans in divided Ohio seek votes for Biden
A group of anti-Trump Republicans in Ohio says they’re working to build support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, claiming the president doesn’t represent their long held GOP values. Through the nonprofit Operation Grant, the former officeholders, party officials and military veterans said Thursday they'll try to persuade others that it’s okay to cross party lines this November. An Ohio Republican Party spokesman said that Ohio stands firmly behind Trump.

New Ohio jobless claims fall
The number of new jobless claims fell in the past week. Nearly 18,000 Ohioans filed for unemployment benefits, according to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That’s a 4% drop from the previous week. Meanwhile nearly 330,000 Ohioans remain on unemployment.

COVID-19 testing this weekend in Akron, regional CVS pharmacies
There are several opportunities to get a COVID-19 test this weekend. Free tests will be offered from the Ohio Department of Health outside Chapel Hill Mall in Akron Saturday and Sunday. No appointment is necessary. CVS Pharmacy has added 20 new Ohio locations to its COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites, which will open today, in cities including Massillon, Lakewood, Orrville and North Olmstead.  CVS will also begin offering tests to children 12 years and older. 

AG William Barr to attend funeral for Cleveland police detective
U.S. Attorney General William Barr is expected to attend today’s funeral for a Cleveland police detective killed during a drug investigation last week. Cleveland.com reports Barr will attend the service for James Skernivitz at Rocket Mortage Fieldhouse downtown. Skernitvitz last week was assigned to the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force and was working undercover as part of Operation LeGend when he, along with an informant, were killed during an apparent robbery attempt while they were sitting in Skernivitz’s unmarked police car.

Summit elections officials step down before Election Day
The Summit County Board of Elections has lost its two top executives less than two months before Election Day. The Beacon Journal reports that deputy director Paula Sauter has abruptly stepped down, just one month after former director Joe Masich retired. In her resignation letter, Sauter said she is resigning to avoid jeopardizing her “physical and mental health.” Republican Lance Reed has been named the new director, and Sauter’s longtime assistant deputy, Dave Petty will replace her. Ohio law requires that the director and chair at each county board of elections be from the opposite political party.

Statehouse 9/11 flag display cancelled
For the past 18 years, the Ohio Statehouse has memorialized 9/11 with a flag display on the West lawn. But the 2,977 American flags, one for each life lost in the terrorist actions of that day, won’t go up this year. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board Spokesman Mike Rupert says the decision was made to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and in part because of protests against police killings of black people that have continued to pop up around the Statehouse. Both Westerville and Hilliard, where pieces of the wreckage from the World Trade Center towers are on display, will livestream events instead of inviting the public to attend.

Ohio Supreme Court rules against Kanye West's appeal 
Rapper Kanye West’s attempt to get on the Ohio ballot for president has been thwarted again. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state’s election chief lawfully rejected West’s effort to get on the Ohio ballot. Last month, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose determined the signature and information on West’s nominating petition and statement of candidacy did not match the documents actually used for petitions signed by voters. West has qualified to appear on the ballot in 12 states.

Ohio State's Day wants answers from Big Ten
Ohio State coach Ryan Day wants answers from the Big Ten about when the conference plans to start the football season. The Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 it was postponing its fall football season because of concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pac-12 soon followed suit, but six other major college football conferences are still forging ahead, The Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference are kicking off this weekend. Day said communication with the Big Ten has been “disappointing and often unclear.” He said he and his players deserve answers about why they aren't playing when other schools are.